Spicy Hazelnut Biscotti {ModBak}

Today I present to you the first biscotti recipe in the Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti section of the Modern Baker Challenge. Unlike the biscotti regina I made back in January, which was actually a cookie (biscotti is, after all, “cookie” in Italian), this is what I would consider a classic biscotti recipe. It’s twice-baked, very crunchy, and made for dunking in coffee or tea.

What makes these biscotti unique is the addition of lots of spices, including some that might surprise you — ginger, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and black pepper. The dough also contains lots of hazelnuts, some of which are ground with the sugar, while the rest are chopped up and stirred into the dough. A bit of honey and orange zest round out the flavorings.

The dough came together very quickly, although it was a bit powdery after I initially mixed it up. I worked it on a floured board until it held together, then I formed it into a log, put it on a cookie sheet, and flattened the top. I baked the log at 350°F for 40 minutes, until it was firm and nicely browned.

I cooled the log on a rack for half an hour or so, then cut it into 1/2-inch slices. I put the biscotti back on the cookie sheet and returned them to the oven, this time at 325°F for about 20 minutes, until they were dry and firm.

The aroma of the spices filled the house like Christmas at grandma’s. They smelled so good, I couldn’t wait for them to cool before trying them. I brewed a cup of French roast coffee, grabbed two biscotti, and headed for the living room.

How do I describe these biscotti? Crunchy, sweet, spicy — all those things, but so much more. The combination of flavors is absolutely genius, perhaps Nick Malgieri’s finest work.

These would be a perfect for the holidays, when spicy treats are on everyone’s minds. But don’t wait until then to make them. They’re too good not to enjoy year-round.


  1. April 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

    […] week’s recipe for Modern Baker Mondays is another biscotti. Like its predecessor, spicy hazelnut biscotti, this is a classic, crunchy, twice-baked biscotti. Although I’ve never had biscotti […]

  2. Kayte said,

    March 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    These look so interesting and the spicing in them sounds delicious. You did a great job photographing them on their date with the hot drink…who would not want to sit down to that? Okay…but who else? lol

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Don’t skip these, whatever else you do or don’t make from this section of the book.

  3. Melanie said,

    March 29, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Wow that’s pretty cool that NM came and commented!! These biscotti sound really good. A favorite of mine that I make in the fall are Gingerbread biscotti and these sound similarly spiced except for the pepper. I’m going to have to try these soon. I prefer a lighter roast coffee though, French roast is too strong for me.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      I make gingerbread biscotti, too. They are spicy like these but totally different in flavor. Definitely give these a try.

  4. March 27, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Hi Phyl, Glad you mentioned that the dough is initially dry. It takes a little time for the sugar to melt but when it does, the dough comes together easily. They’re a variation of a recipe given to me by a pastry shop owner in Trapani on the west coast of Sicily in 1988. Nick

    • gaaarp said,

      March 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Hey, Nick. Thanks for stopping by. I recalled reading that about the sugar, so I just kept working it unitl it came together. This was a great recipe — easily the best biscotti I’ve ever tasted.

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